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Religion Revealed

Christianity and Modernity

John R. Elford

This book is written for a generation curious about religion, largely ignorant of what it actually is and confused by signals about it in the modern world. The argument is, therefore, self-explanatory throughout. The first half explains the historic and worldwide phenomenon of religion in its major manifestations. It also discusses problems with religion. The second part focusses on Christianity, showing how it can be professed with intellectual integrity and to personal and social benefit. Whilst the author is critical of some forms of contemporary Christianity, he draws throughout on the Bible and Christian tradition in its reconstruction. Care is given in defining modernity and explaining how Christianity engages with some of life’s central concerns and responsibilities. In this the book shows how the Christian understanding of how to live responsibly and to the full remains as vibrant and relevant as it has ever been.


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This book is derived from diverse professional responsibilities; learning, teaching and publishing in the subject, as well as from invaluable friend- ships and good discussions. Experience of full-time parochial ministry in the Church of England, though now long distant, remains a valued and formative inf luence. I am profoundly grateful for all this. Some friends have read drafts and I am appreciative of their comments, particularly the more trenchant ones. For reasons explained in the Preface, much of what follows is a form of a generational accountability. It is unfinished work. Christian theology understands that it will be so until the arrival of the Kingdom of God. It is the vision of that which inspires and sustains Christians in making the most they can of their lives. In this they must share their endeavours with all people of good will. That is why so much of what follows has such regard for insight from wherever it may be found. The vast labour of the search for knowledge which this entails is not simply for its own sake. It is undertaken in the hope of gleaning some practical insight into ways of improving the human lot. I would willingly start this ongoing labour again right from the beginning, if given the opportunity. There is much imperfection in what follows. For that I remain solely responsible. It will be for others to reply to that in their various ways. Frankness in that, as here, will be welcomed. I ask only that any...

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